Nothing opens hearts and minds better than good food, conversation, music and dance—and Folkmoot has it all. More than 250 dancers and musicians will perform at the 34th annual Folkmoot USA, host of the State International Festival of North Carolina, July 20–30 in Waynesville and surrounding communities. This year cultural ambassadors will not only entertain through music and dance but host workshops and engage with guests of all ages at friendship dinners.
“Folkmoot has ranked in the Southeast Tourism Society’s top 20 events for two decades because it’s a genuine meeting of people,” says executive director Angeline Schwab. More than educational entertainment, it’s a boon to regional economies, adding as much as $9.2 million in revenue annually. It also requires dedicated people to make it run smoothly. As Schwab says in a moment’s respite from handling visa requirements, making health and housing arrangements and readying buildings for the anticipated 75,000 tourists and guests, “We always have our hands full.
” Competition is tremendous because Folkmoot receives hundreds of applications every year but can only host between ten and 12 groups. Selection is affected by the aim of providing, over time, as diverse a cultural experience as possible. The festival has featured 8,000 performers in 200 groups from 150 countries. This year’s groups are from Argentina, Canada, India, Israel, Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia and Taiwan. Native American, Welsh and African dance, clogging and Appalachian bluegrass will also be featured. Group performances have ranged from holiday songs and dances to representations of seminal battles.
Beginning in Waynesville on July 20, the festival will be held throughout Western North Carolina, hosting events in Lake Junaluska, Clyde, Hickory, Cherokee, Canton, Flat Rock, Greenville, SC, Maggie Valley, Franklin and Asheville before closing in Haywood County on July 30. Audiences can participate in workshops, learning more about costumes, instruments, dance and crafts. Guests will get to know dance teams at friendship dinners featuring cuisine of the various cultures.
“Folkmoot is a wonderful way to experience the world right here at home,” Schwab says. “Our festival builds appreciation for cultural differences through arts, music and dance. Such events open minds and hearts and help people learn about the world and their place within it.”
For more information, including tickets and membership information, call 828.452.2997 or visit folkmoot.org. See more photos on Facebook at Folkmoot USA The “Official” North Carolina International Folk Festival.